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Water-Wise Landscaping

On average, 50-70% of a home’s water usage goes towards outdoor watering. With ongoing drought conditions, having a water-wise landscape is becoming a California way of life. Water-wise landscapes include using efficient irrigation systems such as drip irrigation and weather-based irrigation controllers, and incorporating California-friendly and native plants that help create a sustainable environment for our region. Water-wise landscaping isn’t just cactus or a desertscape. You can create a beautiful landscape that is filled with colorful, water-wise plants that beautifies your community and saves water.

Take a look at the variety of resources EVMWD has to offer to help you towards creating a water-wise landscape.

California-Friendly Plants

Water-wise plants are not just cactus or desert looking plants. There are so many beautiful, eye-catching plants that are both water-wise a California friendly.

Plant Libraries:

Water-Wise Plants for the Inland Empire – explore this database of water-wise plants that thrive in the Inland Empire

California Native Plants – see a library of plants that are native to California

Riverside County Plant Guide – get tips and information on plants for Riverside County

Calscape Garden Planner – check out this handy tool that finds native plants for your garden based on your landscape style

Need more inspiration? Take a virtual tour of EVMWD’s water-wise gardens!

EVMWD Headquarters and Cirrus Circle

Local Nurseries:

Visit a local nursery to find California friendly and native plants. Click HERE for a list of nurseries located throughout Riverside county.


Outdoor watering counts for an average of 50-70% of a home’s overall water usage. Having efficient irrigation helps to prevent water waste, plus it helps keep your landscape healthier.

Watering Tips:

  1. Water your landscape no more than 3 days per week per EVMWD’s 3a watering guidelines. As it cools down, decrease the number of days to water to 2-3 days a week.
  2. Water between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. to avoid evaporation from the sun.
  3. Change the watering schedule as seasons change. Plants don’t need as much water in cooler months like January as they would in hotter months like July.
  4. Not all plants need the same amount of water! Water plants based on their individual needs. Hydrozoning is an efficient method in which you place plants with similar watering needs together to avoid over or under watering plants with different water requirements.
  5. Avoid runoff by reducing how many minutes the irrigation is on for.

Check out Riverside county recommended watering schedules: Irrigation Schedules.

Setting your irrigation controller tutorial videos: Resetting Your Controller.

Best practices for preventing Irrigation Runoff.

Drip irrigation is up to 90% more efficient than traditional sprinklers. Check out our Drip Irrigation Design Guide on how to get started with drip irrigation.

Search the WaterSense Irrigation Professional Database to find a certified irrigation professional near you.

Rebates are also offered for efficient irrigation including smart irrigation controllers, drip irrigation and more. Check out the rebates section to see available rebates.

Landscape Design

EVMWD partnered with a local professional landscape architect to create 2 landscape designs for replacing grass with a water-wise landscape. These designs are free and EVMWD encourages customers to utilize these designs. Designs include suggested plant options lists and a blueprint of the design.

Professional Landscape Design

Turf Replacement Design # 1

Turf Replacement Design # 2

Design Inspiration

Landscapes with Style Guide by Western Municipal Water District. Not sure what your landscape design is? Go through this simple guide to find out which design fits your landscape needs the best.

Virtual Water-Wise Landscape Tour – Explore inspiring and award winning water-wise landscapes throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties!

Turf Alternatives

California landscapes are no longer just green grasses but rather water-wise landscapes that are both beautiful and sustainable to our local environment conditions. If you are considering converting your yard to synthetic turf, there are some important tips to consider first.

Reasons NOT to use Artificial Turf

Artificial turf can collect animal feces. Regular maintenance of hosing off and raking the blades is still necessary.

– California friendly/native landscapes can absorb animal waste and requires little maintenance.

Heat: Artificial turf can get extremely hot and can reach temperatures are high as 200 degrees.

Solution – California friendly/native landscapes do no emit heat and actually absorb sunlight.

Replacement: Artificial turf will not last forever and will need to be replaced every 15-20 years.

Solution – California friendly/native landscapes require low maintenance and live for several years before dying or needing to be replaced. Also, one plant or several plants can be replaced at once, but the overall cost would be less than replacing an entire lawn of synthetic turf.

Artificial turf does not transpire. Transpiration is needed to cool the earth. Synthetic turf is not able to provide a cooling effect, in fact it does the exact opposite.

– California friendly/native landscapes take on the natural process of transpiration. Plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Transpiration helps to cool the earth.

Expensive: Artificial turf is costly. There are NO rebates or incentives offered for installing artificial turf.

– California friendly/native landscapes can be cost effective. They require little water and can even be purchased in bulk for discount pricing. Rebates ARE offered for replacing grass with a California friendly landscape!

Toxic Materials:
Artificial turf is typically made from polyethylene, polyester, polypropylene, nylon, or a hybrid of these different materials. Their impacts to the environment and our watershed can be harmful, not only from the plastics and runoff, but also when it comes time to dispose of the only turf. Removed turf can end up in our landfills unable to be decomposed.

Solution – California friendly/native landscapes are positive for our environment, our watershed and local ecosystems.